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sunandshadow
05-01-2006, 07:02 AM
Hi, I'm trying to write about one of my characters wanting to get a pet, or collect several exotic pets, but I've never felt the impulse to buy a pet so I don't understand what her motivation would be. So why did you want to buy your pet? Why do you think it's good to own and live with animals? What did you imagine about your future with your pet that seemed pleasant and convinced you that you should buy it, what function do you expect a pet to serve in your life? How did you decide what type of pet to get, and what qualities did you look for when choosing a particular animal?

Carmy
05-01-2006, 07:25 AM
I have always had a dog around as a warning device should anyone be on the prowl around my house. Currently, with a 16-year-old deaf and blind dog, I also have a Doberman/Rottweiler 18-month-old. Main reason is protection but also for companionship.

I have always had a cat around, mainly for cuddling and petting, but also to show me that I am not worthy of the outright adoration I get from dogs. LOL

Given a choice of only one pet, I would get a dog every time.

I hope that helps.

Carmy

Carmy
05-01-2006, 07:26 AM
p.s. I should mention that my Dobie/Rott came from the Humane Society. I visited a couple of times a week to meet different dogs in the size range I was looking for. None of them were right until I met Talia. Something in the eyes told me this was the dog for me. That was eight months ago and I've proved myself right.

Carmy

Fern
05-01-2006, 08:32 AM
I've bought a Great Dane as a watchdog. I specifically went looking for a watch dog to keep in my store for protection.

Motivation for some would be what I call a "pity sale". My husband refuses to step foot in a pet store because the animals all sit in those cages with that sad little "please get me out of here" look.

PastMidnight
05-01-2006, 12:14 PM
I got my first cat from a coworker who was looking for a home. I was moving to my first apartment and was looking for a companion.

My second cat wasn't planned on, but it was somewhat like what Fern described, a "pity sale". The local humane society was having a "kitten shower" at a nearby mall, like a baby shower for the cats and kittens that they had. People brought cat and kitten food, litter, litter boxes, etc. to donate, and they also had an opportunity to adopt. I realized just how many cats and kittens the humane society had at the time that needed a home and couldn't resist bringing home a playmate for my other cat. I think the human society ended up adopting out most of their cats that weekend.

KTC
05-01-2006, 02:12 PM
My family brought a dog into our lives 2 years ago for the first time. As a child, I always had a dog. My wife was afraid of them, but I finally convinced her of their unconditional love. So, my motivation was enriching our family and wanting my children to know the love of a pet.

MadScientistMatt
05-01-2006, 04:59 PM
Well, I've sometimes raised things like fish and reptiles as a hobby. I guess you'd call those sorts of things a hobby - some people have a painting hanging on the wall, I had an aquarium with Siamese fighting fish hanging on the wall.

Speaking of "pity sales" - When I was in my teens, I was on a family vacation with my parents and my brother, heading back from Louisiana. We stopped to eat a picnic lunch at an Alabama rest area. A tiny, sad puppy dog with black and tan markings wandered up to us, looking very dirty and hungry. We fed him a piece of mufalleto (sp?) sandwich. We couldn't find his owner, and he wore no tag. We just felt so sorry for the little stray that we brought him home with us and named him Muffy (after the sandwich we fed him). My parents still have him.

Perks
05-01-2006, 05:03 PM
I've never been around animals, but I have always loved fishtanks. I don't really see them as pets as much as a moving picture. The oscar is pretty funny though - he even has a personality.

So, I bought the whole setup as decoration.

sunandshadow
05-02-2006, 01:07 AM
Okay, so people have mentioned the following motivations:
- pets can serve a defensive purpose
- pets can provide companionship
- pets can provide novelty/entertainment
- pets are decorative
- collecting pets can be a hobby

Some of these I understand the psychology of, but some I dont. I definitely understand that pets can be very pretty, and can act as a guardian and can provide entertainment whether by playing with them or watching them interact with each other and their environment.

I sort of understand a pet providing companionship - animals are warm and tactile, and some of them act loving. The may not understand speech but some will look attentive when being spoken to, and some can sense and respond to human emotions. I'm not a real social person and I like to be alone most of the time but if I had to be marooned on an island I'd rather have a dog with me than be totally alone, although I'd rather have a person than a dog. I've read that some people value animal companionship over human companionship because animals provide unconditional love and don't ask questions or make judgements. Animals are supposed to be theraputic in some instances. Also some people wish they could be animals and not have to deal with the complexity of the human world, so socializing with an animal could let them play at being an animal. Does that basically cover it, or have I missed any important factors?

What about as a hobby? I understand creative hobbies because I'm a writer and an artist, and I understand collecting hobbies, but it seems to me that collecting live animals would be more trouble than it's worth. You have to house them, feed them (which is expensive), clean their cages (icky!), and some also require exercising, grooming, training, vet visits, and extra housecleaning to clean up their shed fur and other messes. What are the plusses that balance out these minusses?

rich
05-02-2006, 01:28 AM
Weird ****, sunandshadow. I have dogs and cats because I found the cats as kittens in my back yard. The dogs were out of rescue shelters. One dog is training to be a therapy dog--a far better species to do the job than the selective approach that we mere humans can muster or deal with without our currupt "objective" sense.

The cats are cats. Easy to care for, cleaner, and more concerned with their true nature than the lot of us. We have the brains, they have the sense.

Fern
05-02-2006, 02:04 AM
Sunandshadow, lots of people have pets for hobbies, as well as for jobs.

Dogs are used to race or to hunt (breed specific for whatever kind of game one is hunting. Cow dogs are bred especially for a specific job. You have headers and heelers. . meaning some go for the cows head, others for the heel in an effort to herd. Have you ever seen a good border collie work? One dog might bring in a whole herd of cattle, sheep, whatever. Then there are those that run with the sheep to scare off varmints. There are hog dogs, coon dogs and squirrel dogs.

If you've got a really good working dog and word gets out, often times you can make high dollars off the pups.

Then you've got the people who use dogs to fight for sport. . .illegal in most places, but they still do it.

Still others get into the show dog circles, just like others enter their kids in beauty pageants all the time, or horse lovers rodeo or enter horse shows of some kind or other.

Cats are a different thing. They are very soothing, not as much trouble. Some people have them strictly for mousers; others never let them outdoors (a big pet peeve of mine but thats a whole other thing).

By doing their job, it far outweighs the chore of feeding and tending to them.

Having a pet in the house can be a great stress reliever. Studies show they are also therapeutic to the elderly. Once you get to know each other & each others habits, etc. there is nothing like a pet cuddling up to you when you are feeling low. They don't expect anything. They are simply there.

eldragon
05-02-2006, 02:34 AM
Most of our pets have been strays or from shelters, but I have purchased animals from petstores before, and I worked at a petstore in Atlanta once.


Pets purchased in petstores (dogs and cats, exotic birds) are usually much higher priced than you can get from breeders. The reason I purchased my German Shepherd from a petstore was because I felt sorry for her being stuck in a cage. I played with her one day and told myself, "if she is here next week when I come back, I'll buy her." She was there, and I bought her. I paid $550 for her, much more than I would have paid from a breeder. I didn't tell my husband the truth about what she cost because I was embarassed to have paid that much, and because he was already mad that I bought a puppy.

Petstore purchases are usually on a whim, I think.


I have also purchased rats, tarantulas, birds and fish (marine and freshwater) from petstores in the past.

eldragon
05-02-2006, 02:40 AM
PS .......I grew up with dogs and cats for pets, I'm more comfortable when an animal is around. I don't understand people who don't have pets.


We just found out today that a stray cat who came around, is pregnant. We took her to the vet and had her x-rayed because her stomach has been huge for about 5 months. I was worried that she might have a disease that might be infectious to our other cats. Actually, we are excited that she is having kittens. The last time a stray had kittens, we kept all 7 and spayed and neutered them all - they make for great pets and we still have several of those - but a few were lost in Katrina.
(They had spread out over the years ...........we had about 7 cats in our house, plus 2 dogs, our rats and spiders in the house during the storm, but couldn't find 3 cats. One survived, the other two we never found).


We have one dog, a Great Pyranees, and he's an outside dog. He hates being inside. My GSD was killed last fall - she was hit by a vehicle - but the weird thing was that she was with me outside and disapeared. We looked all over for a week - put up signs and ran ads in the paper - couldnt' find her - then she showed up dead in our front yard.

So, I am considering getting a dog from a shelter soon. I want an inside companion dog - so that she will bark when someone pulls in the driveway - we have a big old house and I don't always hear everything. Also, having a dog around is nice.

eldragon
05-02-2006, 02:43 AM
Cats are a different thing. They are very soothing, not as much trouble. Some people have them strictly for mousers; others never let them outdoors (a big pet peeve of mine but thats a whole other thing).



I understand. We have rescued birds that have been injured by our cats: took care of them myself and drove them 40 miles to a rehabber.


But we have 5 acres in the country and too many cats to keep inside. They are all spayed and neutered (except for one stray who just wandered up a few months ago ........and she's about to drop kittens). These cats kill moles, rats, mice and unfortunately, a few birds ........but not many.

Fern
05-02-2006, 04:25 AM
Sounds like yours are happy cats, eldragon. It just doesn't seem natural for cats to be inside all the time. However, we live in the country also, so I'm sure town living with a cat would offer a different set of problems.

My outside cats keep the rodents and snake population down around the yard area. Our inside cat comes and goes as he pleases pretty much. He doesn't even have a litter box in the house because he knows how to get us to let him out. He's neutered so he doesn't stray far from the house/yard area, although he is an excellent mouser too.

Like you, we've always had pets of some kind or other.

Sassenach
05-02-2006, 05:56 AM
sunandshadow:

I guess you're either an animal person or you're not. If you're not, it's hard to understand the depth of the bond between humans and animals.

When I say I love my dogs, I mean that literally. They're my closest friends and companions.

TheNightTerror
05-02-2006, 12:28 PM
I got all my cats on impulse, mainly because they won me over with their lovable personalities or looks. I'll tell you about getting all 3, just because I'm overtired and feel like rambling. :D

When I got my first cat, Rose it was just one random day, nothing special about it. My mom had been at a feed store, saw the kittens, and brought me there. Only one kitten wasn't people shy, and she purred herself to sleep in my hand. I pretty much melted right then and there, and brought her home with me, after forking over ten bucks.

When I got the next two kittens, it was a few years later. My best friend had mentioned that she wanted to get a cat that was white with black spots, and name it Dice. A friend of my mother's had a cat which had a litter of kittens, and one fit the bill perfectly. When we went to pick her up, it turned out that a group of 3 teenage cat loving girls went to a house that had 3 kittens old enough to leave their mom. Not wise.

Now, I met all 3 when they were 3 weeks old, and loved the white and tabby mix the most. He had this 'I don't get it' look on his face, but he loved to be loved. When I tried to put him down to leave, however, he latched onto my chest, and didn't let go. I finally had to tear him off. He took a good amount of skin with him, and I still have the scars. :o I wasn't impressed, and told myself I'd never let him near me again.

Well, don't you know, the second he saw me when he was old enough to leave his mom, he remembered me. Either that, or he saw mostly bare legs, and thought, "hey, I know, let's climb those!" He climbed up my legs, up onto my shorts, onto my shirt, then curled up on my chest, purring. He's a tit loving man, that's all I have to say. :tongue

The friend who wanted Dice took her, and the third friend took the gray and white beauty of a kitten. However, the third friend wasn't allowed to keep hers. She left her with me, saying she'd pick her up as soon as her parents gave in. I still have both siblings, but I don't regret it a bit. They still groom each other and snuggle together like they're babies, it's adorable. My oldest, Rose, is still the boss, though. She'll happily whap them over the head with her paw if they try anything.

I love having my cats, mainly because they're good company, and they do care if you're miserable. My leg climbing chum Leo often runs straight for me if he sees me when I'm on the verge of crying, and he's run straight into doors or walls in the process. It's hard not to laugh at least a little when that happens. :) And, if that doesn't help, picking him up and cuddling him usually does. :)

Jenn
05-04-2006, 08:28 AM
Hi Sun,

I purchased two sugargliders about a year and a half ago for several of the same reasons the others have already said, however, they weren't my main reason. Them being exotic and unique in everything they do was one reason also, but the one that tops them all is one I've heard others say, but surprisingly not here. I needed something that needed me. :D And I wasn't about to have another child when my youngest is a pre-teen and my oldest is two years away from graduating high school...lol. They are very sweet "Critters". They can sleep in your pocket during the day (they're "pocket pets") while you write and if you have more than one, two hours of playtime with you at night is fine (although more would be better). They are nocturnal, but I hear you can even retrain them to wake earlier if need be; like 8:00 PM so you can be in bed by 10:00, but I just haven't tried with my two babies. I'm usually up late and their schedule is fine with me. Blab, blab, blab, I know. I'm sorry. I just love them. Anyhow, as I said, my main reason for getting them, besides them just being dern right adorable, is because I needed someone to need me. Hope this also helps.

bylinebree
05-04-2006, 10:53 AM
I have always had a dog around as a warning device should anyone be on the prowl around my house. Currently, with a 16-year-old deaf and blind dog, I also have a Doberman/Rottweiler 18-month-old. Main reason is protection but also for companionship.

I have always had a cat around, mainly for cuddling and petting, but also to show me that I am not worthy of the outright adoration I get from dogs. LOL

Given a choice of only one pet, I would get a dog every time.

I hope that helps.

Carmy

I agree with the cat-thing. Having one around keeps me humble, as the love my two dogs give me is rather undeserved (though I am pretty good to them). Our crazed, half-feral cat reminds me that any love he gives is TOTALLY up to him. He's keeps mice at bay, sort of, though I've had better mousers. My daughter saved him from a construction site when he was 2 wks old -- she hand-fed him, kept him alive, he thinks she's his mother, and he is a big baby! (an ornery baby!)

Our other cat, long gone now, was such a lover. He adopted US at the shelter when he saw me, he put his paw on the glass to meet my hand when I touched it to get his attention, and kept it there. So HE chose US.

Pets give us someone to take care of, and to love us. Studies show the heart rate & blood pressure GO DOWN in a healthy way when people interact with animals.
So it could be a weird reason for your character to get a pet -- thinking it will "help his/her health" or guard them, but in the end they fall in love with the pet.

SingingScribe
05-04-2006, 06:55 PM
I have one dog that I purchased and two dogs that we rescued. I've always been an "animal person." There's not many animals I don't like and they generally respond well to me.

My dogs are great companions. There's nothing better on a rainy day than curling up on the couch with the dogs and watching a movie.

Hope this helps! Good luck on your project!

Jamesaritchie
05-04-2006, 07:25 PM
I've bought dogs a few times. Why? Well, haven't you ever owned a dog? Maybe it's different if you don't grow up with a pet, but I bought dogs because I love dogs. Simple as that. A dog makes a great friend, a great companion. A dog really is man's best friend.

What other reason is there?

rich
05-04-2006, 08:49 PM
http://image09.webshots.com/9/4/98/85/114249885aTlhEs_ph.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/110256641/1114249885053135110aTlhEs#)
They're also prettier than us.

vmtwriter
05-04-2006, 09:00 PM
I think owning a pet gives you a reason for "being". You have something in your life that depends on you and basically adores you. It's a heady feeling.

I bought my dog from a petstore two years after our first dog died from lymphoma cancer. I went in to ask them if they would have any American Eskimos in and sure enough they had one already. He was getting kinda old, at already 10 or 11 weeks, and still hadn't sold. He was pretty expensive too, which didn't help much. I instantly fell in love with him. The store personnel let me take him into a play area where I could hold him and cuddle him and play with him without any interference from other customers. The funniest thing he did was attack my shoe laces. I was hooked.

I called my husband and gushed about the most adorble puppy I had just found. He was a bit more sensible than me and told me not to make a decision based on playing with him for a few minutes. So, I put a deposit down on the puppy just in case someone else came in and wanted him before I came back. I talked it over with my husband that night and actually got him to go back to the petstore with me the next day. He couldn't say no to that little bundle of white fluff. We paid the rest of the "cough" price, bought food and probably a half dozen toys, along with leash, collar, etc. and took our little baby home. He's been with us now for nearly three years.

For the first month he was with us, I cuddled him constantly. My daughter said he would forget how to walk if I didn't let him down once in a while. It wasn't as bad as all that, okay, maybe it was, but I did cuddle him a lot. I would work at my computer writing, and he'd snuggle up to my shoulder or lay in my lap and sleep. There's nothing like soft warm puppy breath on your neck as the little fella snoozes.

He still thinks he's a lap dog even though he weighs more than 30 pounds. But, now I can't even reach my keyboard when he sits on my lap, so no work gets done when he's in a snuggly mood.

Whether you buy your puppy from a breeder, get it at a pet store, or rescue it from the shelter, know that you're investing in that little critter's life. He'll love you unconditionally for the rest of his life. All you need to do is make sure he's loved, well-cared for, and happy. I think it's a fair trade.

Sassenach
05-04-2006, 10:15 PM
http://image09.webshots.com/9/4/98/85/114249885aTlhEs_ph.jpg (http://community.webshots.com/photo/110256641/1114249885053135110aTlhEs#)
They're also prettier than us.


That's for sure. What a cute dog! [Mine's cuter, though.]

Dollywagon
05-04-2006, 11:34 PM
They teach you things.

You can learn empathy from owing a pet.
How to respect other creatures on the planet and appreciate their place in the order of things.
You can expand your mind and knowledge base (Did you know that goats don't like having their ears pulled because that's how their mum would tell them off?)
They teach you how to be responsible in a throw away society.
They teach you when to feed them and to take them out.
They instigate humanity in humans. But not in all cases.
They teach you how to give unconditional love.

One of my goats taught me to run to the fence and give him attention when he got his head stuck in it. As soon as I moved him nearer the house and he got attention on a regular basis he stopped getting his head stuck.

They teach you that you aren't as smart as you'd like to think you are.
That's why some people don't like them!

kmm8n
05-05-2006, 01:17 AM
I used to have two dogs, one that I got from a newspaper ad for free puppies and one when my sister's dog had puppies. Because they were only two years apart, when they got old (both lived until 14) and my German Shepherd died, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle Harley's death without having another dog. I adopted a shelter dog, but she was aggressive and went after Harley several times (seriously--stitches and all that).

I decided to go to a breeder and purchase a puppy. That way I would know for sure what her puppy experiences had been like. Also, I love German Shepherds, and I wanted assurances that she wouldn't get hip dysplasia. Those are my reasons for buying a dog.

I will always have dogs. When Dory gets older, I will get another dog, since dogs are pack animals and right now there is only me and Dory in our pack. When I leave, Dory has separation anxiety. Having another dog around will help ease this.

Dogs are great companions, ensure that I get exercise every day, and make me feel secure.

sunandshadow
05-05-2006, 01:38 AM
Okay, thank you all for the replies, they have indeed been helpful! :) I decided that the character intended to own the pet won't be the one who buys the pet. The intended owner is depressed and borderline suicidal. His older brother, who discovered the joy of pets when he got married and his wife wanted a pet, will decide to buy the intended owner a new pet for theraputic reasons. The depressed guy does not want a pet, but gets dragged along to the pet store anyway. The brother has a cuddly puppy in mind and follows the pet store owner to look at those. Bored, the depressed guy wanders into the exotic pets section of the store.

There is a tank with a yellow line painted on the floor around it. In the tank is a big squid. The yellow line was the danger zone of how far it can reach out of the tank with its tentacles, but unfortunately it has grown since the line was painted. When the depressed guy wanders too near a parrot will call out to warn him. The guy pauses, looks at the parrot, then shrugs and goes to look at the squid again. The parrot warns him again, but it's too late! The squid has grabbed him! He screams and the shop owner and brother come running and rescue him. Thereafter the depressed guy insists that he must have the parrot as his pet because it warned him and tried to keep him safe. The brother is dubious about parrots, but buys it to please the depressed guy.

Sound good?

Billytwice
05-05-2006, 04:38 AM
I don't know about pets but the guy who owns the taxi firm opposite my house paid 400 for a Doberman guard dog. Three days after he bought it thieves broke in and stole it...

Jamesaritchie
05-05-2006, 07:34 AM
Sounds like yours are happy cats, eldragon. It just doesn't seem natural for cats to be inside all the time. .

Indoor cats live one heck of a lot longer than outdoor cats. Sometimes four times as long. This is probably the best reaosn of all to keep them isnide